The Wind in the Willows (Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride)

The Wind in the Willows movie poster

 

What’s this? Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride? A film written and directed by Terry Jones? I didn’t know he made anything after Erik the Viking. Wait, and it stars Jones & Eric Idle? With cameos by John Cleese and Michael Palin? Why, it’s practically a Monty Python movie… the only two missing are Graham Chapman, because he’s dead, probably, and Terry Gilliam, because he’s… American, perhaps. How could I possibly never have heard about this movie?

OK, let’s take a closer look at the DVD box. Released by Disney? Hm, that’s not necessarily a good sign. How about a quick web search. Wait, the original title was The Wind in the Willows? Why did Disney change it for home video? Did it not get a theatrical release? (A user comment on IMDB indicates Disney went straight to video with a different title)

Now let’s start playing it. Jones was never the visual stylist in the Python films (that was left to the other Terry). Willows looks kind of expensive, yet kind of cheap at the same time. Where’s Steve Coogan? He got first billing, but I don’t see him anywhere. Hey, there’s Eric Idle, with a silly rubber tail! Oh no, he’s not going to start singing a song, is he? Oh god, it’s a musical…

Ninety minutes later, my brains are dribbling out of my nostrils. This has got to be one of the worst movies ever made. Steve Coogan is practically unrecognizable (that’s him as The Mole). The great Stephen Fry shows up for a few blustery lines of dialogue but fails to elevate things. Terry Jones looks ridiculous in green face paint and a fat suit (I hope) that I suppose is meant to read as "toad." And sure enough, it was only a matter of time, he winds up in drag.

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